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Opting out of Edison & PG&E Smart Meters. . .

By   /   April 6, 2011  /   7 Comments

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How safe are these things?

Can you opt out if it’s already installed?

“What is happening scientifically is beyond most of our understanding- yet there are experts who are beginning to realize what is causing so many reports of headaches and other health impacts from the meters.” — Rob States, electrical engineer

“We’re dealing with microwave radiation that’s an environmental toxin, and the opt-out is a first step. But then we need hearings on the health impacts.” — Sandi Maurer, EMF Safety Network

As of July 31, 2010, regulators had received 4,169 complaints from PG&E customers about the wireless electricity and gas meters, questioning their accuracy and possible effects on human health.

One local woman became concerned about the Smart Meter after they were installed because her neighbors in Yucca Valley and friends in Rancho Mirage became sick and affected.

Jane Humphries registered her desire to opt out of the Smart Meter program on the California Public Utilities Commission website and also called Carole Brown, chief of staff for CPUC President Michael Peevey, at (415) 703-2971, to register her concerns. That may be a smart thing for all of us to do.

The American Coalition Against Smart Meters is also concerned about the immediate health risks of the Smart Meter. They allege smart meters pollute our environment, causing electrosmog, a threat to life, health, and safety. They say smart meters are also a threat to our freedoms, as they intrude upon our privacy.

Michael E. Boyd writes that the wireless version of the SmartMeter has no UL mark so it isn’t safe and can cause a fire like it did in San Bruno California where PG&E’s pipeline exploded.

Concerned citizens are organizing a Smart Meter Forum in Santa Barbara on April 28th.

It is all part of an Edison $1.63 billion smart-metering program. Thus far, millions of smart meters have been installed. It is true that smart meters will generate real-time information that empower consumers to monitor and control their energy consumption, but who is supposed to pay for the purchase, installation, maintenance of the smart meters?

The Desert Sun queries:  “Let’s talk smart meters. They’ve been a hard sell in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere because people don’t see the immediate benefits; some have seen their bills go up.” Pacific Gas & Electric has already had problems introducing the new smart meter rates to commercial customers, and ratepayer advocates are calling for more education and a gradual introduction process.

PG&E, based in San Francisco, has more customers than any other California utility and was the first in the state to start installing the advanced meters. The Public Utilities Commission has approved every major transmission project in the past five years that has come before it, so it’s nothing more than rubber stamping. When has the PUC ever done it’s job and placed the safety of its people ahead of corporate interests?

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) tops a list of the utilities making the highest investments. PG&E continues to suffer smart meter woes among concerns from those who worry about privacy issues and/or health concerns from the built-in wireless technology of these meters.

Many people have been being driven from their homes and report unbearable headaches, sleeplessness, tinnitus and other symptoms from the powerful bursts of wireless radiation that the FCC and CPUC — insist are safe — but that increasing firsthand evidence — not  to mention peer-reviewed science — says otherwise.

The utilities go to the PUC several years ago, seeking a massive rate increase to pay for their ‘smart’ meter program.  An appointed, beholden PUC rubber stamps their request, raising $2.2 billion from its customers without even asking them (or so much as notifying them.)

Note that increasing evidence indicates that there are more health problems associated with the beleaguered ‘smart’ meter than just the rf antenna.   Researchers looking at the remote switching mechanism are suggesting that it may be responsible for many of the reported health impacts, especially tinnitus and other auditory impacts.  Rob States, an electrical engineer who has been studying this.

He writes, “Since individuals with no history of RF disease are experiencing symptoms the first day the meter is installed, we can assume the meter’s RF emissions are not the only problem.  The RF network is activated months after initial meter installation.  Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency any ware from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. ”

Moreovers, “The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power.  Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.”
Rob States, an electrical engineer studying the problems, advocates 1) Independent hearings at the state level on what’s wrong with the ‘smart’ meter program so that these experts can contribute their knowledge to keep us safe; 2) the right to keep your analog meter, and the right to have it replaced if you have had a ‘smart’ meter installed; and 3) the CPUC must declare an immediate moratorium on further installations.

There is the story of one woman’s struggle with migraines, and eventual realization that her (not so) smart meter was to blame.   Her solution in the face of her utility’s refusal to remove here meter-

For the somewhat good news, The California Public Utilities Commission gave PG&E two weeks to put together a plan to give customers the choice to opt out of having a smart meter installed.  This proves that the public outcry around the meters was enough to warrant new policy. But this is not the end of the smart meter fight. These meters are still being installed all over the US in record number. According to the PGE website, the intent of the meter is to use wireless technology to create “a mesh of network coverage”.

Assemblyman Jared Huffman
, who represents Marin County, introduced legislation
in December that would force PG&E and the state’s other utilities to offer their customers a choice of advanced meters – either wireless or wired. The choice would be retroactive, extending to customers who have already received a SmartMeter.

Assembly Bill 37 – Smart Meters: Gives customers who do not want to have a wireless smart meter installed at their home an alternative of having a hard-wired smart meter, and requires utilities to disclose information about the radio frequency (RF) emissions of their wireless smart meters.

Current status of Bill:

MEASURE	:  A.B. No. 37
AUTHOR(S)	:  Huffman.
TOPIC	:  Smart grid deployment: smart meters.

                2/3 Vote Required
                State-Mandated Local Program
                Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE:  04/04/2011
LAST HIST. ACTION   :  In committee:  Set, first hearing.  Hearing canceled at
	the request of author.

TITLE	:  An act to add Section 8370 to the Public Utilities Code,
	relating to electricity, and declaring the urgency
	thereof, to take effect immediately.

By Branson Hunter, a pen name used for no other purpose.

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

    An email was sent to Assemblyman Jared Huffman inquiring about the current status of AB 37. It seems a hearing was canceled at the request of the author.

  2. Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

    March 11, 2011

    Furious Residents in SF’s Richmond District Take Direct Action to Block Installations

    San Francisco, CA- Facing mounting opposition to wireless ‘smart’ meters being rolled out by California utilities, including 10 local governments who have criminalized installations, and 23 more who have demanded that the CPUC stop the program because of widespread reports of health impacts, the Commission yesterday signalled that it would ask one of California’s utilities- PG&E- to develop a plan to allow customers to opt out of having a wireless meter installed- at customers’ expense. Meanwhile, as residents in San Francisco and elsewhere learn more about the meters, some are furious and are taking direct action to stop installations.

    Kendra Lock, a resident of San Francisco’s Richmond District who had a ‘smart’ meter installed at her house yesterday after being told that “it would be installed whether she allowed it or not,” was angry enough to physically block the Wellington Energy installer from leaving the scene- insisting that he remove the meter from her home. “I felt that PG&E intimidated me- I now realize they are systematically intimidating everyone. We need to start asking questions. Why are they pushing this on us so quickly without consultation or notification? What’s actually behind this rollout?”

    Environmental health advocates and a burgeoning grassroots movement to halt the installations welcomed the CPUC’s admission that there is a health crisis with the smart meter program, but slammed the meager steps proposed to address it. According to Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters!, “Admitting that there is a problem is the first step to fixing that problem. However, an individual opt out at customer expense for PG&E customers is a diversion. What if you are too poor to avoid having a wireless meter- is the state saying you have to pay to avoid having a headache? That sounds an awful lot like extortion. What if you live in Southern California, or in an apartment building with dozens of meters on your bedroom wall? The bottom line is that these meters are hurting people- and no one deserves to be subject to powerful microwave radiation pulses 24 hours a day in their own home.”

    The wireless meters have been widely reported to cause headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears- even memory loss and heart palpitations among susceptible individuals due to bursts of microwave radiation. The movement against wireless meters is the sharp end of a growing movement demanding health-based standards for wireless technology. Michael Peevey, who Gov. Brown has allowed to continue chairing the Commission, has continually insulted individuals with electro-sensitivity, inferring that they are ‘just making it up.’ Peevey, the former President and Senior Executive of Southern California Edison (SCE) has ties to the telecommunications industry, and continues to chair the Commission that is meant to oversee the utilities, despite popular outrage about clear conflicts of interest. SCE plans to have installed 5.3 million meters between 2009 and 2012.

    Health advocates say they will continue protests and civil disobedience until a moratorium is imposed on any further installation, independent hearings on health are scheduled at the state level, and the utilities are directed to remove unwanted meters.

    Video from yesterday’s confrontations between residents and PG&E’s contractor Wellington Energy in SF’s Richmond District is available at http://stopsmartmeters.org

  3. Branson Hunter Branson Hunter says:

    On March 11, PUC Commission President Michael Peevey said he had told PG&E to come up with options for customers who don’t want the wireless meters. Peevey also said, “at a reasonable cost, to be paid by the customers who choose to opt out,” Peevey also said the option must come “at a reasonable cost, to be paid by the customers who choose to opt out.”

    See Smart meters face CPUC scrutiny


  4. kactuskooler Karen Walton says:

    I have the digital meter and nobody here got sick. It works great and we are happy with it.

  5. Good article. Beware. The smart meter technology is extremely dangerous and the harm it is doing is unparalleled. This is a horrific experiment on the American public. The more people who complain, the better. We need the smart meters off our homes. If you don’t have one, it is a good idea to research what others have done to avoid them. A big chain and lock on the analogue meter so it can be read but not replaced, iron bars around it, a cage built around it (so it can be read), guarding the meter, fencing it off and escorting the meter reader to the meter for reading, this is all what people are doing to hold off installations. The longer it takes, the more proof of harm and the more likely it will never be installed. Get your county supervisors and town councils to adopt ordinances against smart meter installations, like they have in Northern CA (25 cities and towns, 10 counties). Some have criminalized the installation of these meters, like Marin County. Go to county and city meetings and speak on this. I have a packet you can use. It will be posted on the American Coalition Against Smart Meters Facebook Site shortly, for members.

    Join the American Coalition Against Smart Meters at http://www.causes.com/acasm
    Follow us on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/No2SmartMeters w/ an archive of 300 anti-smart meter news articles
    Smart Meter Dangers – the science behind the dangers http://www.smartmeterdangers.org

  6. Please confirm number of CPUC complaints send to sbrinchman@aol.com thanks

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